URMC Chosen for National Community Health and Health Equity Initiative

Jan. 11, 2017

The University of Rochester Medical Center is one of only eight institutions chosen by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to join an effort to improve health equity and the health of communities nationwide.

The three-year initiative – Building a Systems Approach to Community Health and Health Equity – will map the community health-focused activities of URMC and the other participating institutions. It also will evaluate the impact of these activities on patients, communities, learners and the institutions and provide a chance to share successes and lessons in an effort to solve problems found in virtually every community across our nation.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us and our academic medical center colleagues, along with our public health and community partners, to share best practices and further develop targeted actions to address issues related to community health, population health and health equity,” said Theresa Green, Ph.D., M.B.A., director of URMC Community Health Education and Policy.

Among the criteria used by AAMC to select the participants was a successful history of ongoing, collaborative, institutional efforts across research, clinical and educational missions to address community health disparities.

In research, the URMC Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has a Community and Collaboration Core that gives the community a voice in research and promotes engagement and translation. A Community Advisory Council helps shape these efforts. In clinical care, URMC has established a population health strategy that is exploring how to achieve the triple aim goals among the patient population.

The Office of Inclusion and Culture Development in the School of Medicine and Dentistry is very active and plans to hold a spring conference “Reflecting our Community: Tackling Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care and Research.” UR Medicine has a robust community health improvement plan developed with the other Monroe County hospitals, the health department and community input. In education there are creative innovations teaching undergraduate and graduate students about community health and health equity. The AAMC Systems Approach Project seeks to explore opportunities for synergy among these ongoing efforts and to maximize impact on the health of our community.

The URMC team consists of Green and Michael D. Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences and director of the Monroe County Department of Health; Linda Chaudron, M.D., associate vice president for Inclusion and Culture Development; Kathy Parrinello, chief operating officer of Strong Memorial Hospital; Diane M. Hartmann, M.D., senior associate dean, Graduate Medical Education; and Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., co-director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and director of the Center for Community Health.

Letters of support to AAMC for the project were submitted by Mark Taubman, M.D., chief operating officer of URMC and dean of the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry; Kathy Rideout, Ed.D., PPCNP-BC, FNAP, dean of the UR School of Nursing; David R. Lambert, M.D., senior associate dean, Medical Student Education; and leaders of the Community Advisory Committee, Wade Norwood and Scott Benjamin. 

Teams from the participating institutions will be given protected time, mentorship and workspace both in Washington, D.C., at the AAMC and in their home institutions to identify crossover priorities and opportunities for enhanced clinical, educational, programmatic and scientific partnership around community health and health equity. Each team will create site-specific plans for interprofessional collaboration and cross-disciplinary implementation to create synergy around improving the health of the community through patient care, research, and education. The teams will also develop a research and evaluation strategy to enrich and assess the implementation of the site-specific plans and their outcomes for communities, the health system and learners.

URMC joins in the initiative with colleagues from Eastern Virginia Medical School, Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, MedStar Health, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD Medical School.